Title: The Lightning Thief
Author: Rick Riordan
Copyright: 2005 (Hyperion); 375 pgs.
Series: Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1
Reading Level: 9 -12 years
The scoop: Twelve year old Percy Jackson is completely unaware he is the son of a Greek god. After strange things begin to happen, and he and his mother are attacked by a mythological creature, Percy ends up in a special summer camp for godlings. There, he makes new friends and learns his real father’s identity. However, the revelation is hardly good news on Mount Olympus: Zeus believes Percy stole his master thunderbolt. To prevent a war among the gods, Percy, along with his friends Grover and Annabeth, set out on a quest to find the missing item by the summer solstice.
Comments: The book is written in 1st person, so it had a definite “boy” feel to it — at least I thought so. I thought the book started off slow, but once Percy gets his quest, things pick up and I was hooked to the end. With the action comes violence. Greek myths are pretty violent to begin with — the hero battling the monsters who are trying to stop him from reaching his goal — so in that respect it’s no different from the other retellings. Percy meets each challenge bravely and does his best to protect his friends and the innocent bystanders.
Why I read it: I have three young nephews and an eleven-year-old niece. The niece — we’ll call her D — is already an avid reader, and it is something I hope stays with her. D’s read the Harry Potter series already and seems to like fantasy well enough. I probably could recommend this to her. However, her brother — henceforth referred to as A1 (there is a nephew A2) — told me that “reading is for girls”. I reminded him that his father reads. He’s a little too young yet for this series, but I’ll keep it in mind for the future (A2 and E are even younger).
Besides the above, I chose to read the book because it looked interesting. I was fascinated with the Greek mythology, probably around the age of 10 or 11, influenced, no doubt, by the original Clash of the Titans. As I was reading, I couldn’t help thinking about that movie. It also reminded me of Disney’s Hercules, as well as the television series, Hercules: the Legendary Journeys and its spin-off, Xena. It was a bit weird to have all those images floating about in my mind at the same time.
What I liked: I liked the summer camp (the concept, the setup, etc.); same thing about the Underworld. I also liked the real-world jobs some of the mythological characters had — I didn’t catch on to the gnome emporium right away. I also liked the reasons the author gave for the gods to be in the New World instead of Greece and why certain gods stopped having half-blood children.
What I didn’t like: As an adult with no children — and I know I’m not the target audience — nothing really stood out. However, due to the violence and what happens to Percy’s mother in the beginning and his step-father in the end, I would advise a parent to read it first so they can decide if younger children are ready to read such things.
Would I recommend it to The Younger Crowd?: As stated above, yes, I probably will recommend this to my nephews and niece — and I will ask their mothers first in regards to content.
Started: 15 March 2010
Finished: 24 March 2010